Ubik

Ubik

4.3 54
by Philip K. Dick
     
 

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“From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you’ll never be sure you’ve woken up from.”—Lev Grossman, Time

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when

Overview

“From the stuff of space opera, Dick spins a deeply unsettling existential horror story, a nightmare you’ll never be sure you’ve woken up from.”—Lev Grossman, Time

Glen Runciter runs a lucrative business—deploying his teams of anti-psychics to corporate clients who want privacy and security from psychic spies. But when he and his top team are ambushed by a rival, he is gravely injured and placed in “half-life,” a dreamlike state of suspended animation. Soon, though, the surviving members of the team begin experiencing some strange phenomena, such as Runciter’s face appearing on coins and the world seeming to move backward in time. As consumables deteriorate and technology gets ever more primitive, the group needs to find out what is causing the shifts and what a mysterious product called Ubik has to do with it all.

“More brilliant than similar experiments conducted by Pynchon or DeLillo.”—Roberto Bolaño

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780547572291
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
04/17/2012
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
70,876
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)

Meet the Author

Over a writing career that spanned three decades, Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) published 36 science fiction novels and 121 short stories in which he explored the essence of what makes man human and the dangers of centralized power. Toward the end of his life, his work turned toward deeply personal, metaphysical questions concerning the nature of God. Eleven novels and short stories have been adapted to film; notably: Blade Runner (based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?), Total Recall, Minority Report, and A Scanner Darkly. The recipient of critical acclaim and numerous awards throughout his career, Dick was inducted into the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in 2005, and in 2007 the Library of America published a selection of his novels in three volumes. His work has been translated into more than twenty-five languages.

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Ubik 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 54 reviews.
Kerry_Nietz More than 1 year ago
I recently read Philip K. Dick’s “The Man in the High Castle” and was a little disappointed with it. For me, that book lacked the wild speculative nature and imaginative concepts I’d come to expect from Dick’s stories. Thankfully, “Ubik” has both those things in spades. “Ubik” exists in a world where there are a variety of psychic humans who can be hired (like the precogs that were central to Dick’s “Minority Report”) for nearly any psychic activity, including nefarious things like corporate espionage. Ubik takes it a speculative step further, though, in that while whole companies of psychic individuals exist, there are also companies dedicated to countering (or blocking) psychic activities. So if you have a telepath reading your mind, you could hire an anti-telepath to block that reading. Interesting and unique idea. Another interesting “Ubik” concept is “half-life”. This is the idea that some people, if they are caught soon enough after death, can be frozen and communicated with for many years after they otherwise would’ve died. The story opens, in fact, with one of the main characters communicating with his dead wife. She helps run his company! The book is a real page-turner, and many times I found myself wondering where the author was going, only to find he was going someplace complete different than I expected. If I had any disappointment with “Ubik”, it is with the character arc of Pat Conley. She possesses a unique anti-psi ability, which never seemed to get the use that the buildup of her character suggested. So many things in Dick’s stories are mere diversions, though. He gets you watching one hand, only to sneak the ball into the other. What shouldn’t be missed here, though, is the metaphor of the substance Ubik (Is it a salve? Is it a spray? Is it a pill?). Like nearly everything in the story, the real Ubik is more than you might originally suspect. “Ubik” is worth every penny. Read it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a kind of novel as a chess game, trying to understand what is really happening, at the same time as a deeply emotional struggle with identity and the inevitability of death. I've read a couple of thousand novels of all kinds and this would be in my top ten.
R_Hinshaw 10 months ago
I like recommending this one to my friends who are science fiction fans as they tend to favor the military sub-genre. Not that I don't like that sub-genre, but I like to set them up for something completely different. This one is weird and funny, even compared to the author's better known works. Probably one of the most fun reads I've had that was not intentionally humor. Would love to see a film version now that special effects technology has reached a point this is feasible.
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unHandyAndy More than 1 year ago
Metaphysical fiction is an unusual subgenre of sci-fi, and this is a fine example.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An involved story that blends sci-fi and mystery...absurdly funny and compelling.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Smart story keeps you guessing (wrongly) what's going on.
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David Lipscomb More than 1 year ago
A good story told with the clarity of a writer confident in his own imagimation.